Type: History
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The Cold War mainly refers to a period in history marked by tension and build up of arms between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The Cold War is usually referred to using this term since no military confrontation ever took place between the two nations. It began in the mid-1940s and lasted till the late 1980s. It beginning was immediately after the end of the Second World War. The fear of nuclear escalation is probably the reason why the two nations did not engage directly in the war using the military. However, despite the direct engagements, both nations were indirectly involved in other conflicts in the world[1]. There were indirect conflicts among the two nations in the Korean and Vietnam War, the Cuba missile crisis, and the invasion of Afghanistan. Although China was allied with the Soviet Union, they parted ways at some point due to the involvement of the United States of America. The Cold War was also marked by the boycotting of sporting events held in both nations due to the tension between them. The presidents of the two nations did not have kind words for each other and would condemn each other in public. The paper seeks to address the issues that led to the rise of the Cold War and the impacts of the Cold War. The factors that led to the end of the Cold War will also be discussed.

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Factors that Led to the Cold War

The main factor that led to the Cold War was the difference in ideologies between the two nations. This is considering that both nations had a strong economy and were thus considered to be the superpowers. The Soviet Union wanted to spread its communist ideology worldwide which alarmed the United States of America which supported democracy. The United States then began building atomic weapons. After its acquisition of the atomic weapons, the Soviet Union was alarmed and feared that the United States of America will attack it with the atomic weapons[3]. This further caused a lot of suspicion between the two countries. Since both countries were armed with atomic and nuclear weapons, they began fearing each other because of attacks that may occur from any side. The situation almost escalated into a military confrontation during the Cuba missile crisis. The tension was, however, diffused after the two countries came to an agreement. The United States of America spy plane had taken photographs of the Soviet Union ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear heads[4]. The Soviet Union on realizing this took the missiles to Cuba. The United States threatened to attack Cuba over the issue. The Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles proved that the United States will not attack Cuba. This agreement calmed the situation, but the Cold War still continued.

The United States became more suspicious when the Soviet Union took over the eastern part of Europe. This further worsened the situation, and the Cold War continued. The Soviet Union had taken that action because it feared that the United States would use the western part of Europe to attack it. The action of taking over the eastern part of Europe was thus for the purpose of countering the suspicion. The United States was also angered by the fact that the Soviet Union occupied a part of Germany.  The Soviet Union was angered when the United States formed an alliance with China to counter the Soviet Union. The United States’ president at the time was also against Soviet Union’s president and referred to the Soviet Union as an evil empire. The Cold War continued when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980. The United States was involved indirectly in the conflict by arming the Afghanistan rebels to fight the Soviet army. This worsened the situation. However, the war was costly to the Soviet Union and it led it to bankruptcy. Changes in leadership in the Soviet Union contributed to the end of the Cold War.  The unification of Germany, liberalization of Eastern Europe, and the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan led to the end of the Cold War. The United States of America thus came to the only superpower.

Impacts of the Cold War

The Cold War had a lot of impacts on both states and the entire world. However, the two nations were greatly affected. The Cold War led to the building up of a large cache of arms between both nations. Both nations have a huge arsenal of atomic weapons and ballistic missiles. This was mainly the result of both nations trying to arm themselves for the fear of attacks from the other nation. The Cold War led to the formation of military blocks among the two nations. The United States of America was involved in the formation of NATO while the Soviet Union was involved in the formation of the Warsaw pact. The military blocks were mainly for the purpose of helping the nation to fight each other in case the war broke out. The Cold War also had very destructive impacts. The Cold War greatly contributed to the prolonging of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The two nations were involved in the war that had a high number of casualties of both the civilians and the members of the military. The Soviet Union was supplying arms to North Korea and Vietnam to combat the opposing sides and the United States Army that was involved in the conflict. This resulted in a high number of people getting killed. The Afghanistan invasion also saw the United States of America supplying weapons to the rebels to combat the Soviet Forces. This, therefore, led to a lot of destruction and death[7].

The Cold War created a lot of hostilities among both nations. It led to social impacts which saw both the USA and the Soviet Union boycotting the Olympic Games held in both countries. The Cold War also took a lot of toll in the economy of the two countries. This was mainly due to the investments in the arms building which was very costly. The toll on the economy saw the collapse of the Soviet Union. It had heavily invested in the building of nuclear and atomic weapons. A positive impact of the Cold War was the unification of Germany. The Berlin Wall which separated East and West Germany was finally brought down leading to the formation of a unified Germany. The communist ideologies that were supported by the Soviet Union collapsed all over the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some nations that were under the Soviet Union gained independence after its collapse. The Warsaw pact was also disintegrated due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States was thus able to become the only superpower in the world.

In conclusion, the Cold War was mainly caused by the difference in ideologies and suspicion between the two superpowers at the time. Each nation was suspicious about the other nation’s ambitions. The Cold War spilled over to the other nations which were not directly involved. This was due to the indirect involvement of the two superpowers in the world conflicts. However, the Cold War was too costly in terms of the economy due to the huge sums of money used to build arms. However, the Soviet Union could not sustain its economy and finally collapsed leading to the United States winning the Cold War without any military confrontation.

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